JUST IN: Clovis PD names 16-year-old Nathaniel Jouett as suspected library shooter. Had more than 1 weapon...recently suspended from school. pic.twitter.com/dMPTIGJZMe— Matt Howerton (@MattKOAT) August 29, 2017
With Hurricane Harvey wreaking havoc in Texas and President Donald Trump bragging about the crowd size of flood victims, an important news story seems to have slipped through the cracks.
In Clovis, a small town 200 miles east of Albuquerque, New Mexico, a high school student allegedly went on a deadly shooting spree inside the Clovis-Carver Library, killing two women and injuring four other people — including a 10-year-old boy.
Nathaniel Jouett, 16, reportedly entered the library and “started to shoot” into the air, according to an eyewitness named Vanessa Aguirre.
“It all happened so fast,” she said, minutes after the incident took place. “We took off fast. My purse is still in there.”
UPDATE!!! Shooters name is Nathaniel Jouett! Friends say he was super friendly and down to earth and dont know why he would do this pic.twitter.com/CRfCsLaem7— #ClovisStrong (@WaywardElliott) August 29, 2017
Another witness, Lisa Baird, told the Eastern New Mexico News she mistook the first bang for a firecracker.
“My initial thought was why would someone throw a cherry bomb or M80 firecracker into the library?” she recalled. “Then I saw a young man aim his hand, which had a handgun in it, to the ground/carpet about 6 feet in front of him and he fired like four or five shots into the carpet.”
Baird, who said she was speaking to someone at the library's reference desk at the time, immediately hid under a nearby desk “and tried to squish up as small as possible.”
From there, Baird said she could hear the man moving around the library and firing multiple shots.
“Then I heard his pants ‘shooshing' as he approached the end of the reference desk,” she continued. “I heard a sound like a phone or something being put on the reference counter at the end of the desk, about 4 feet from my head.”
Baird said the suspect also yelled at people to run as he opened fire, fatally shooting 61-year-old library circulation assistant Wanda Walters and 48-year-old youth service librarian Krissie Carter. The teenager also shot and injured another library employee, 30-year-old Jessica Thron, along with 53-year-old Howard Jones, 10-year-old Noah Molina and his 20-year-old sister Alexis Molina.
The police entered the library moments later and arrested Jouett, who reportedly did not resist. Clovis Police Chief Douglas R. Ford said the alleged shooter was carrying two handguns when he began to fire indiscriminately and that they were still looking into the motive behind the mass shooting. It is also unclear how Jouett got his hands on the firearms and whom they belonged to.
The teen, who was recently suspended from his school, is reportedly being charged as an adult.
However, despite the fact that two people died, the mass shooting received little to no attention in the mainstream media, which leads one to wonder if the reaction (or the lack of it) would have been same had the suspect been a person of color or member of a religious minority?
It is also important to note Jouett recently began showing interest in religion and had been baptized this summer, according to Pastor David Stevens of the Living Word Church of God in Clovis. The teen was also dating the pastor’s daughter and was helping the church raise money to send members to youth camp.
“Before Christ came into his heart, he was just crying, broken,” Stevens told Reuters. “He said, ‘Now I got something to smile about.’ We had no indication of anything wrong with him.”
According to Heavy.com, Stevens’ daughter was the one to bring Jouett, who apparently had a troubled past and suffered with meth addiction, into the church in an attempt to turn his life around. The pastor said Jouett told him he would sometimes lay “with a gun at his side and a suicide note in his pocket.”
Jouett is facing two counts of first-degree murder and four counts of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Ralph D. Freso